Baseball head coach Tom Tereschuk was placed on an indefinite administrative leave March 28 while the university investigates allegations of violations against university policy.
Adorned as the 2011 “Best Coach” in Orange County by OC Weekly, Tereschuk is one of Chapman’s most decorated coaches. After 11 years of achievement, including the team’s first national championship in 35 years, his reign as head coach has been more than successful.
Tereschuk, who also teaches three weight training classes at Chapman, has been temporarily relieved of his duties while under investigation by human resources said Doug Aiken, sports information director.
“The investigation is ongoing and until it is resolved, [Tereschuk] will not be teaching on campus or traveling with the baseball team,” Aiken said.
Tereschuk has used profanity in the presence of team members and spectators, said Michael Newman, a senior at Chapman and a former utility who left the baseball team in Fall 2011.
Newman said Tereschuk’s temper operates on a short fuse.
“He’s screamed and cussed at me on the field and called me useless. If a player messed up, he would belittle them until he got it all out of his system,” Newman said. “If he was caught doing what he did, he would have been fired a long time ago.”
A current player, who requested to have anonymity because of possible repercussions from Tereschuck, confirmed the consistent use of profanity.
“He has absolutely directed vulgarity at the team on many occasions,” he said.
Tereschuk declined to comment on the alleged violations.
The athletic department could not disclose specific details of the investigation.
“An administrative leave can happen for a number of combinations, but it’s a serious situation regardless,” Aiken said.
Associate head coach Dave Edwards is handling Tereschuk’s coaching duties while the investigation is pending. Edwards took over March 28 and recently traveled with the team to Texas for a three-game nonconference series. Aiken added that substitute professors are currently filling in for Tereschuk’s three classes.
Coaches using vulgarity has been a hot topic in college sports following the April 3 firing of Rutgers University basketball head coach Mike Rice. Rice was first suspended and then fired after ESPN aired a video that showed him throwing balls at players and directing anti-gay slurs at them during practice.
Andrea Becker, assistant professor of sports studies at California State University Fullerton, said while Rice is an extreme example, fear-based coaching isn’t rare with the pressures of college sports.
“Coaching is a place where you’re in control and you’re calling the shots. Often times, coaches engage in ego-protecting behavior by showing authority,” Becker said.
Coaching out of fear includes threatening not only players’ positions, but also players themselves, Becker said.
In his one season under Tereschuk, Newman said anger was a standard in his coaching style.
“He was always the worst after a tough loss. He will call you anything and go anywhere – there’s no cap on it,” Newman said. “Outside of baseball, he’s a genuinely good guy and a family man. But once he gets onto the field, it’s all business and he will snap.”
Tereschuk was below a .500 winning percentage for the current season before his leave was administered, with an overall record of 11-12. Since then, the baseball team has collected one win and five losses.
The investigation is indefinite and has no known completion date, Aiken said.